CASTLEBAR, Ireland November 5, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – More than 3000 people marched in Co. Mayo this weekend, on the electoral home turf of Prime Minister Enda Kenny, demanding that the coalition government refuse to undo Ireland’s constitutional protections for the unborn. The march and rally were held in response to growing unease throughout the country that the government is on the verge of overturning the law, under massive foreign pressure from offshore international abortion lobbyists, the European Union and the Council of Europe.
“Fine Gael declared to the electorate in early 2011 that they were a pro-life party who would not legislate for abortion,” said Claire Philbin, one of the organizers from the Mayo Life Network.
“This promise most certainly contributed to their success in that election, where, for example, in Mayo alone they took four seats. The thousands who came to Castlebar today are now demanding that Enda Kenny sticks to that pro-life commitment, and rejects the external pressures that are being applied to Ireland to legalise abortion.”
Spokesmen from Mayo Youth Defence said that the huge turnout sent a powerful message to Kenny that he must “listen to the pro-life majority and reject attempts to foist abortion on Ireland.”
So far Fine Gael has said that it remains absolutely committed to maintaining the law. At the last election, however, the party was unable to obtain a majority and entered into a coalition partnership with the Labour Party whose policy, alone among Irish political groups, supports total legalization of abortion on demand.
Addressing the rally, Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute said that Ireland was “proud to be a pro-life nation, proud to be a people that stand for life.”
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“And if Fine Gael thinks that they’re being inundated with pro-life phone calls now, let us assure them that we’ve only just got started,” she added.
“Because the lives of our children are worth fighting for. Their mothers, driven to abortion in fear and panic, are worth fighting for. And the pro-life ethos of this country is worth fighting for.”
“So we stand together today, as we will stand together again and again, and in growing numbers, until our government acknowledges that we, the people, do not want abortion, not now, not ever, not in our country and not in our name,” she added.
Following a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights in the ABC case, pro-abortion politicians started using the decision as a lever to force the government to overturn the law. Labour leader Eamon Gilmore told media that the ruling meant the government was obliged to legalize abortion, though the court itself had denied this. In its decision, the court found that there is “no human right to abortion” stemming from the European Convention on Human Rights, while claiming that Ireland’s constitution already permits abortion in certain limited cases. The court requested that Ireland “clarify” under what circumstances abortion is permissible.
The European affairs officer for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), Patrick Buckley, told LifeSiteNews.com today that the whole matter was manufactured by the abortion lobby to force legal abortion on Ireland. The ABC case was a project conceived by the Irish Family Planning Association, Buckley said, an affiliate of International Planned Parenthood Federation, and the New York based international law firm, The Centre for Reproductive Rights.
“This case was and is part of a determined effort by wealthy international pro-abortion organizations to declare an international human right to abortion,” he said.
“Needless to say the liberal Irish media failed to ask the critical question: how do three women who do not know one another get together to take a case against the Irish Government to the European Court of Human Rights and how could they finance it?”
Under pressure from both sides of the debate, the government responded to the ruling by appointing an “expert group” whose recommendations have been reportedly “imminent” for months. Meanwhile, party backbenchers in the Dail are admitting to a state of near open rebellion within the government, with many TDs refusing to countenance the possibility of legal abortion on Irish soil.
Some critics on Facebook have scoffed at the numbers in Castlebar this weekend, saying that similar rallies on the continent get numbers in the tens of thousands. But Ui Bhriain, head of Ireland’s Life Institute, responded to LifeSitenews.com that comparing Co. Mayo to Paris is hardly fair given the disparity of population size, and that the rally was really very large, given that Castlebar is a town of just over ten thousand.
“It brought the town of Castlebar to a standstill,” she said. “The size of the crowd was unprecedented for a rally on any issue in living memory in the west of Ireland town.”
According to the 2011 census, Co. Mayo has a total population of 130,638 and county seat Castlebar has 10,826.
The point, she said was to alert Kenny on his own electoral turf that his own constituents are firmly opposed to any attempt to liberalise the abortion law and stand ready to punish in the polls any attempt to do so.